Friday, November 7, 2008

The Politics of Barack Obama

In my last post about Obama, I said he was inspiring and I thought he was going to be a great man, but I didn't say why. Instead, I portrayed him as a messianic figure come to save us all. What I meant, was that Obama would inspire the people. But where is Obama on the political spectrum? Why do I like Obama other than for his personality? In this post, I'm going to take a look at specific political positions that Obama has taken and measure them against my pseudo-libertarian leanings.

Firstly, and most importantly, where does the man stand on abortion? He says that "abortion should be made legally available in accordance with
Roe v. Wade". That's awesome. That's my big thing right there. To me, there's nothing more important than the freedom of choice for those who need or want abortion.

Notice how Obama has worded it. Neither is he for or against abortion itself. He's simply saying that it's the law and it's the people's choice. That's the misconception that people have about pro-choice. It's not about being for abortion, it's about being for the choice to do it.

My second major issue is where does Obama stand on gay marriage? Well, according to this blog, a link to an MTV interview, "Obama told MTV he believes marriage is 'between a man and a woman' and that he is 'not in favor of gay marriage'." However, Obama has publicly stated that he is opposed to Proposition 8 in California which would remove marriage from the LGBT community. As well, Obama has proposed a compromise, a civil union in which the same equality is given.

Meh, not really a compromise, Obama. This is where we differ greatly. A civil union is exactly that. A marriage is something else entirely. If a civil union has the same rights as a marriage, why not give them marriage? The civil union is being extended as a peace offering, while the goal of marriage is being lifted away. That signals to me that a civil union is
lesser than a marriage, regardless of how "equal" the rights may seem.

So far we have one for and one against Barack Obama. Let's move on, shall we?

Does Obama support stem-cell research? Yes. Obama even spoke out against President Bush's veto of the bill for research. That's classy.

Even I don't do any drugs whatsoever, I can't possibly argue against the decriminalization of marijuana, which Obama contends the US should do. He also thinks that medicinal marijuana growers should be left alone by the DEA, as the DEA "have better things to do."

In terms of eduction, Obama has an interesting position. He supports higher pay for teachers, which is great, but he also supports a merit pay, a system developed with teachers. Erm, that sounds wonky. First of all, no one teacher is the same and no one student is the same. The pay the teachers based on results sounds almost like commercializing the profession, turning students into commodities. Children are already targets by mass media and advertisement; let them be kids not products.

Intelligent design? Obama does not want it taught as scientific fact but as a theology. Let them treat it as folklore or mythology, I say.

Unlike Canada, the US does not have a universal health care system. Obama vows to have one implemented by the end of the first term. That's absolutely astonishing. Tommy Douglas, the creator of the health care system, was voted the greatest Canadian of all time. Imagine if Obama did that!

Remember that big immigration debate? Well, I do and so does Obama. Not only does he support letting the 12 million illegal immigrants have driver's licenses, but he also wants an earned pathway to citizenship for them. That's terrific. He voted against making English the official language of the federal government, which says to me that he recognizes the multicultural of his country; I would hope so considering his own ethnic background.

This is terrific. Only his position on gay marriage and education seems wonky, but otherwise, we're on the same page, he and I.

Finally, and almost as important as abortion: he opposes the war in Iraq. Absolutely outstanding.

So there you have it. Not only do I like him as a personality, but I like him as a politician. I will be following his presidency very carefully, just like I tried to do with Clinton's second term.

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